July 7, 2011

PETER SUDERMAN: Arizona has a major public health problem: Too few people are smoking. “Like many states, Arizona’s public finances are in miserable shape. And much of the state’s budget trouble can be attributed to a decade-old decision to finance an expansion of low-income health insurance coverage with revenue dependent on tobacco industry profits. . . . The state faced two problems. First, the actual price tag on the Medicaid expansion came in higher than expected. Second, smoking rates—and thus tobacco industry revenues—were on the decline; by 2002, states had already received 14 percent less in tobacco payments than projected.” It’s like they didn’t believe in their own anti-smoking efforts.

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